In an auction draft, each manager is allocated a certain number of dollars with which to assemble his team. You need to understand that there is no other use for the money after the auction. Spend it all at the auction or lose it.
The strategy below is based upon the following auction type.
While there are many different approaches to an auction, the one I recommend as a guideline is to spend about 40%-45% of your budget on the RB1 & RB2 positions combined. For the typical $200 budget, this would mean spending between $80 and $90 on your top two running backs.
Target getting your three wide receivers for 30%-35% of your budget. Thus you would spend $60 to $70 for your receivers.
That leaves about $50 for your QB, Tight End and your bench. If you allocate $20 to $25 for the QB, you'll have $25 or so for your TE, D, K and bench. Some managers prefer to keep money back for bargains late in the auction (and there will be bargains) while others prefer to get the top players early and just fill in around them with whomever they can get later. Either is an acceptable approach.
The position of TE has become more important in the last few years with the emergence of the TE as more than a blocking position. (See Graham, Jimmy.) You may choose to spend a little more in that arena – maybe 5% to 7% of your budget. Just recognize you'll need to take that money from somewhere else.
I personally prefer not to spend a lot on my Defense. Statistics for defenses vary greatly from year to year based upon injuries to key players. Usually a $2 or $3 investment will get you a serviceable defense. Exception: I will throw some money at the Seattle DST but I’m usually too cheap to get them.
Finally, you should never spend more than $1 ($2 at the most) for your kicker.
A favorite stratagem is to nominate players early that you're not that interested in. Hopefully, others will bid up the price to nab them while you save your money for players you want later. It doesn't always work but it's fun to try. Caveat: Don’t be ‘that guy’ who nominates scrubs. Nominate good players – just ones you don’t care if you get or not.
Another fun strategy is to nominate players for positions which you have already filled. Watch your opponents spend their money on a position which is no longer of any value to you. If things go well, they'll have less money to bid on a player you would like to get later.
Recognize that, just like in the draft, you will not get all the players you would like. There will be players that you want who are being over-bidden. Let them go. Your job is to get a team with some studs and then fill in around them --- just like the draft.
One other item: Each player is a new opportunity for you. What do I mean by that? At some point during the auction, you will probably make a mistake. Do not let that affect your confidence. Move on. Everyone else will make a mistake, too.
Finally, let me add. I have not included Individual Defensive Players in the discussion. The IDP aspect is a favorite of mine but it's outside the scope of this article.